NBA pushes plan to reopen facilities until May 8 at the earliest

Fiserv Forum stands Thursday March 12, 2020, in Milwaukee. The NBA has suspended its season. The Milwaukee Bucks had been scheduled to play the Boston Celtics on Thursday night at the arena. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)

MIAMI, Fl. (AP) After eyeing May 1 for certain teams in the NBA to reopen their facilities, the league has pushed back their plans for at least one week, and cautioned that the new target is far from set in stone.

The earliest that teams can reopen for voluntary player workouts is now May 8, the NBA said Monday — and that would only be the case in places where local and state laws made such a move permissible.

And when those facilities are open, the rules will be very different: A person with direct knowledge of the league’s plans told The Associated Press that players will have to wear face masks when in the facility, except when they are actually working out. Staff members would have to wear face masks and gloves at all times, said the person who spoke to AP on condition of anonymity because those details were not publicly announced.

Other restrictions when facilities reopen will include a limit of four players at a facility at any time, no group activities will be permitted and no head coaches or assistant coaches can be involved in the workouts.

As for teams in states with stricter government restrictions that prohibits the reopening of their facility, the league will work with them to identify alternatives.

While teams and their players may seem eager to get back to training for a possible return of the season, safety is still their top concern.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the NBA has received significant pushback from teams about the idea of re-opening practice facilities in selected states due to player and staff safety being treated as the priority.

The NBA suspended the season March 11. It ordered teams to shutter their facilities eight days later, saying at the time it was doing so “in light of the rapidly-developing coronavirus situation, and consistent with evolving advice from health experts regarding how to promote individual and public health while minimizing the spread of the virus.”